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September in Singapore: A Month in the Life of a New MBS Student

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September is a busy time here in Singapore – many conferences are hosted in the month after summer comes to a close. I had the good fortune of being able to speak at two of those conferences: the Asia Reformulation Conference and Vitafoods Asia, both on behalf of my employer, Lux Research, where I am a Food & Nutrition Analyst.

In the same time frame, I began my first semester as a Global Food Technology & Innovation student through Rutgers’ MBS Program. I was glad that in just the first month, I could see ties between my “classroom” learning—naturally, as I am located in Singapore, I attend class online— and my experiential learning through these events. My first two courses are: 1) Current Regulation and Standards for Foods and Cosmetics in Domestic and International Trade and 2) Chemistry of Food and Natural Products

Particularly, I noticed ties at two distinct points:

  • At the Asia Reformulation Conference, there was an insightful presentation titled “Navigating the Regulatory Challenges on Novel Food Claims in Asia.” Different claim types (e.g., nutrient content vs. health) were discussed and how each country within Asia regulates those claims. Understanding the fundamental difference between these claim types was one of the first lessons from the Current Regulation and Standards course.
  • At Vitafoods Asia, a key focus area covered was nutricosmetics. This area relates to nutraceuticals that promote “beauty-from-within,” i.e., dietary supplements that provide cosmetological benefits such as skin health. Sure enough, soon after the conference, this topic came up in the Food and Natural Chemistry class while learning about the functionalities of vitamins and antioxidants.

Having these “aha” moments already makes me realize the value of the MBS program for working professionals. The flexibility to take classes online in order to balance day-to-day work, conference engagements, and different time zones is a huge perk, too.

In addition to the academic and professional highlights from this semester, a personal one was definitely being interviewed by Channel News Asia to discuss personalized nutrition:


Quite a thrill ride of having a TV interview, speaking at two conferences, and starting the MBS program all in the same month, to say the least!

Thomas Hayes
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